You are the one


Filipino Philippine Tagalog DVD You Are The One (buy from Amazon)

Romantic Comedy, Philippine, 2006

Director: Cathy Garcia-Molina

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
Toni Gonzaga ... Sally Malasmas
Sam Milby ... Will Derby/Vernard Garcia

Story:
Sally lives and works in Manila while her parents and elder sister live in USA. Her family wants her to join them in USA, she is not so sure but she applies anyway because her mother is not well and needed to be taken care of. At the US embassay, her application was rejected by the US officer Will, who is young and handsome. While she has a crush on this young man, she also hates him for rejecting her application. She has her chance of revenge, Will was adopted by US parents and he needs to look up some information on his biological parents, he ends up at the department where Sally works and she plays tricks on him at first. Eventually, she actually goes out of her way to help him and the two of them starts on a journey to look for Will's real parents and romance is in the air, but things are never so smooth as it first seems...

My review:
I got this DVD as a gift from a friend in Philippines. It is very funny and entertaining, old fashion clean fun (well, most of the time anyway), with a warm touch.

Be with you - Ima, ai ni yukimasu

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Be With You (Ima, Ai ni Yukimasu) - DTS (buy from Amazon)

Japanese 2004
Director: Nobuhiro Doi

My rating: 4
Key actors/actresses:
Yuko Takeuchi ... Mio
Shido Nakamura ... Takumi
Akashi Takei ... Yuji

Story:
Takumi lives with his 6-year old son Yuji in a small quite town. His wife Mio passed away not so long ago, when she died she promised that she would return in the next rainy season. So Yuji prays that rainy season will come sooner. One day, Takumi and Yuji were taking a walk in the country side and saw a woman that resembled Mio but she had no recollection whatsoever as told who she was. As she lived and cared for Takumi and Yuji, she learned about her relationship with Takumi and fell in love with him all over again, and also her love towards her son. While she heard from Takumi his side of their love story, she discovered a diary that she left for herself that told her side of the same romantic story, their feelings were definitely mutual. But rainy season is coming to an end...

My review:
A nice simple touching story of an ordinary family. Nothing too extraordinary, but that's why I like it also, moving, down to earth and good acting.

Dis-moi oui

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Dis-moi oui (buy from Amazon)

French 1995
Director: Alexandre Arcady

My rating: 4
Key actors/actresses:
Jean-Hugues Anglade ... St?phane
Julia Maraval ... Eva

Nadia Far?s ... Florence
Claude Rich ... Professeur Villiers
Val?rie Kaprisky ... Nathalie

Story:
A young 12-year old patient is in love with her pediatric doctor, she expresses her affection and he cannot accept because she is too young and she is his patient. The young girl is in need of a critical neuro-operation, would she survive? Would she win over her doctor?

My review:
I watched this movie in 1997 and I happened to be working on a business consulting project for a medical company that sells the apparatus for the neuro-operation described in the film, what a coincidence.

Interesting plot and funny story. Quite enjoyable.

Crying out love in the centre of the world - TV drama

Crying out love in the centre of the worldCrying out love in the centre of the world

Japanese 2004
Director: Isao Yukisada

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Takao Osawa ... Sakutaro Matsumoto
Kou Shibasaki ... Ritsuko Fujimura
Masami Nagasawa ... Aki Hirose
Mirai Moriyama ... Sakutaro Matsumoto (High School)
Tsutomu Yamazaki ... Shigezou Matsumoto
Kankur? Kud? ... Ryunosuke Ooki
Kanji Tsuda ... Johnny
Issei Takahashi ... Ryunosuke (high school student)
Rio Kanno ... Ritsuko (girl)
Tetta Sugimoto ... Aki's Father
Katsutaka Furuhata ... Johnny (high school)

Story:
"I thought I might be using a lifetime's happiness in a moment. I was that happy and she was that beautiful."

In 1987, a beautiful story about two 17-year old classmates, Aki and Saku who fell in love during one summer and how they soon realized Aki has leukemia and died during Autumn of the same year.

17 years later, Saku has not forgotten Aki for a single moment, he still carries her ashes with him, he re-tell their story to a woman that he loves today on how he and Aki met and spent time together until Aki's final moment and her dying wish was to see the blue sky of a place in Central Australia where the aboriginals believe to be the centre of the world and people who rest there after they die, their spirit will flow from there into another world and be reborn.

My review:
Simply a beautiful story, I love this TV-drama and the adapted version of the movie both based on the same best-selling book of the same name "Sekai no Chuushin de, Ai wo Sakebu". A pure romantic love that happens during teenage years with a sad ending of death of incurable diseases, though the idea is not new, this story will still touch your heart.

Le Papillon


Le Papillon (Original French Version) (buy from Amazon)

French 2002
Director: Philippe Muyl

My rating: 4
Key actors/actresses:
Michel Serrault .... Julien
Claire Bouanich .... Elsa
Nade Dieu .... Elsa's Mother

Story:
Julien is a retired old man whose hobby is butterfly (Le Papillon) with his own butterfly room and plenty of samples. Elsa is a 9 year old girl with her single mother who has to work all the time and cannot spend much time with her daughter. They just moved to the same building where Julien lives. When Elsa overheard about Jilien's trip to search for the beautiful and rare butterfly called "Isabella", she secretly hides in his car and wants to follow him. Julien initially wants to turn her in to the police, but later decides to let her goes along to this butterfly journey...

My review:
A very nice touching story, the old man and little girl have a lot to learn from each other. Through the journey of searching for the butterfly, they are enlightened...

The smartest guy in the room

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Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (buy from Amazon)

This is a documentary on the story of Enron, how the company has once risen to the 5th largest company in USA and then fell to become one of the biggest corporate scandals in history. Greed and arrogant have completely clouded the minds of the chair, CEO, CFO, executives and its traders to pursue highly profit at the expenses of the public by using fraudulent and creative accounting. Its fall also brought down one of the biggest accounting firms.

Before Sunset

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Before Sunset (buy from Amazon)

Type: Romantic, USA 2004

Director: Richard Linklater

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Ethan Hawke - Jesse
Julie Delpy - Celine

Story:
This is the sequel to the romantic movie "Before Sunrise" where Jesse, an American guy who lived in Texas and Celine, a French girl who lived in Paris had the encounter of their life, when they met 9 years ago on a train and agreed to spend a day together in Vienna. They formed such an intense and irresistable bonding that they promise each other that they will meet again in 6 months in Vienna. However, they only met again 9 years later in Paris. What happened in the 6 month after their first encounter, why didn't they see each other again until now? How do you pick up a conversation again after not seeing someone for such a long period of time. So what's next? Are they still made for each other, the soulmate that they had hoped for 9 years ago?

My review:
Absolutely love this sequel as well, the acting, the script, the scenary and most important of all, the mood and feeling that it brings. Couldn't think of a more perfect ending than the one shown.

Ehtan and Julie played their role really well. The plentiful and natural dialogue make the audience feel they have re-ignited their intense connection as in the first movie, and that they have never forgotten each other for a day. It was tragic that they were unable to meet up during that 9 years because they didn't want to exchange contant information not even their last name, they don't want to just call or write to each other a little while and then the relationship will fade away, but as a result, once they have missed their rendervous in Vienna, they had no way of finding each other until Jesse published a book on their 1-night affair 9 years ago. All their possible romantic feelings were all injected and preserved in that 1-night, they were unable to feel and be happy with anyone else. Imagine such torture of not being able to feel love except with a person that you are uable to locate and then the joy of seeing the person again by chance. What sort of intense emotion is unleashed as a result?

Please also see Doris's review.

Before Sunrise

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Before Sunrise (buy from Amazon)
Type: Romantic, USA 1995

Director: Richard Linklater

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:
Ethan Hawke - Jesse
Julie Delpy - Celine

Story:
Jesse is an American student who lives in Texas, he is on a vacation in Europe and Celine is a French girl on her way back to Paris. They met by chance on a train and started a conversation, they felt there was an intense connection, a connection that most people don't even find during their entire life. Jesse is catching a plane to USA from Vienna the following morning and crazy as it might sound, he asks Celine to get off the train at Vienna and spend one day with him and they will part at sunrise. The brief encounter turns out to be much more than they have expected, what future holds for 2 people who have lived separate lives on two far apart countries until today...

My review:
I like this movie very very much, don't we all have the fantasy of meeting a complete stranger in the most unexpected circumstances who turns out to be the soul mate of our life? What seem to be two parallel lines somehow crossed by faith.

The connection of the two characters are instantly felt and the what seems to be a casual conversation shows harmony and reasonate. The dialogue is not dramatic, it is cozy and natural just like a conversation between two friends who have known each other for years. This is much more convincing than the super dramatic type of movie like the Titanic. One has to wonder if Jack and Rose (in Titanic) are really made for each other and if Jack had survived, how quickly he would have dumped Rose.

I particularly like the dialogue where they make conversation by pretending to be calling their best friend to talk about what happens in Vienna and role-play the best friend part. Exchanging their deep and honest view of each other since the moment they met on the train.

Not until too long, the loving feeling was coupled with physical desire, completing all the elements of knowing each other.

Audience can feel the sadness when the perfect couple must part and get on with their original path in life. Our hope is raised again with their promise to see each other again in 6 months' time, we are put in suspence not knowing that if they will indeed see each other again. Deep in our heart, we wish them luck and hope they will indeed see each other again, but on the other hand, we are not so sure if such brief but intense encounter is a strong enough foundation for their future life together (if any). Is it possible to put one's romance all into one night.

Also see the review of the sequel "Before Sunset".
Also see Doris's review.

Death Note 1

Death NoteType: Drama, Japan 2006

Director: Shusuke Kaneko

My rating: 5
Key actors/actresses:

Tatsuya Fujiwara .... Light Yagami
Ken'ichi Matsuyama .... L
Asaka Seto .... Naomi Misora
Shigeki Hosokawa .... FBI Agent Ray
Erika Toda .... Misa Amane
Shunji Fujimura .... Watari
Takeshi Kaga .... Souichiro Yagami

Posted by Dominic
Story:
A "Death note" notebook that belongs to one of the Gods of death has been picked up by a super-smart teenager "Light". The notebook comes with instruction on how to use it, "the human whose name is written into this Death Note shall die". Light makes good use of it to eliminate criminals who are in his eyes not worthy to live, he wants to create his own world that is crime free. The unexplained death of criminals worldwide has caught the attention of another super-smart teenager crime-burster "L". The war is on between 2 of the smartest mind on earth, will "L" be able to catch "Light", and "Light" with such supernatural power in his hand, would he be able to create his idealised world, also God of death is excited to watch this catch and run game and he is not taking side.

My review:
Absolute power corrupt absolutely, with the ability to take the life of another person by simply writing his/her name into a notebook, "Light" has turned into a monster, in the name of creating a better world, he has in effect become the most evil person.

Most interesting story, a concept that many people must have thought of and wished to have the same magic power to get rid of the wrongs in the world. This stroy reminds us that this is a dangerous concept that no one will be able to control the power and avoid being corrupted.

Bungee jumping of their own 情约笨猪跳


Type: Drama, South Korea 2001

Director: Dae-seung Kim

My rating: 3
Key actors/actresses:
Byung-hun Lee 李秉憲 .... Seo, In-woo
Eun-ju Lee 李恩宙 .... In, Tae-hee
Hyeon-Soo Yeo .... Lim, Hyeon-bin
Su-hyeon Hong .... Yeo, Hye-su

Story:
In 1983, a young man called In-woo was a college freshman, one day a girl who's also a fresher at the same college called Tae-hee walked and stood next to In-woo under his umbrella on a heavy rainy day and he fell in love with her on the first sight and still pursuing her and soon she fell in love with him too. And they had a wish to try bungee jumping in New Zealand. On another rainy day, they felt close to each other and in love with each other than ever and went to a lover's hotel, but out of nervousness, he couldn't do it. Soon In-woo needed to serve in the military, they promised to each other to wait for each other. She was supposed to show up at the station to say farewell before he went off to military service but she never showed. 17 years later, In-woo is married with a young baby and he is now a high school teacher, one of the boys in his class Hyeon-bin catches his attention, because Hyeon-bin seems to remind him of Tae-hee in many ways and he will say things that Tae-hee used to say to In-woo. In-woo is really confused and feels he is hopelessly drawn towards Hyeon-bin. Did Tae-hee reincarnate as the boy Hyeon-bin?

My review:
Also known as 'Beonjijeompeureul hada', this is an interesting movie and caused a lot controversy in Korea when it was released. Does love last forever and across different lifes? Is love a pure thought and doesn't matter whether it is between man/woman but now turns into man/man love? If it really is a pure thought that counts why do they need to committ sucide and hope for the best to become man/woman in their next life? In-woo and Hyeon-bin could have just continued their love as a couple (man/man).

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